Fluid retention, also known as water retention and more formally, oedema, is not only physically uncomfortable, but it prevents your body from operating properly.
Leaving you feeling heavy and sluggish, fluid retention can also cause weight gain and the look of denting on your flesh when you apply pressure to affected areas, which tend to be our extremities, like the hands, legs, ankles, and feet.
What Causes Fluid Retention
Let's first talk briefly about possible, but more unlikely causes of fluid retention. These include problems with lymphatic drainage, which can be a genetic issue, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be caused by heart failure, cancer, prolonged immobility and pregnancy, angio-oedema, which involves swelling that usually only affects the hands, feet, eyelids and around the mouth and genitals.
Fluid retention can also be the result of varicose vein complications but it can also cause varicose veins, more on this soon...
Again, these causes of fluid retention are possible but far less probable than the usual reasons your body is holding onto water. These more common causes of fluid retention are:
Hormones: Water retention is very common for women leading up to their monthly periods and can also be more prevalent during perimenopause. Oh the joys of being a woman hey!
Sitting or lying down for a prolonged period can also cause fluid retention, mostly in legs, feet, ankles, and hands.
Eating a high-salt diet can cause fluid retention, making one of the easiest ways to reduce retention simply cutting back on heavily salted and all processed foods (which often contain a lot of salt).
Too much insulin in your system can result in the accumulation of salt and water in your kidneys. This symptomology may be the result of type two diabetes, or, it could be the outcome of a poor diet full of excess sugar and carbohydrates, which can also lead to an influx of insulin.
Carrying a few too many extra kgs can also result in fluid retention. Extra fat puts pressure on your veins, which can, in turn, affect your circulation and lead to fluid retention.
As the body relaxes to accommodate baby, some water retention is a natural part of pregnancy. This said, if the swelling comes on suddenly and is accompanied by vomiting or headaches or if you just feel off, see your doctor as soon as possible. This might be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which can be dangerous.
In the warmer weather, our bodies become less efficient at removing fluids. The best way to prevent swelling is to flush the fluid out by drinking plenty of cool water.
How to Reduce Fluid Retention
In most cases, you don’t need to resort to drastic measures to relieve fluid retention. Exercise like walking or running (anything that allowed you to sweat a little), and drinking plenty of water (especially water and lemon juice), and eating lots of fresh, whole foods (easy on the table salt!) will help you reduce fluid retention, naturally.
But it's not wise to cut out sodium completely as this mineral has important roles to play as well and is a vital blood electrolyte! It's more the salt you find in packaged and processed foods you need to be more concerned about.
It may sound counterintuitive, but sodium is actually very important in regulating bodily fluids (to help prevent fluid retention)
just be mindful of how much you are consuming. If you are training/seating hard, you naturally lose salt and other important electrolytes so adding a pinch of healthy salt (Himalayan or Celtic sea salt are best) to your water can be a great way to replenish.
Or... grab my natural sports drink recipe here to replenish lost electrolytes.
The Secret Ingredient
The secret (or shall I say, key ingredient), is the Perfect Organic Baobab powder. Baobab is loaded with key electrolytes minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and as you may know, these are important electrolyte minerals that help to regulate body fluids, this playing a role in fluid retention-prevention! (say that fast 10 times) 🤪
Baobab is a low-carb super fruit that is jam-packed with goodness - it is HIGHLY nutrient-dense and that is why it can claim super food status!
Natural Kidney Tonic and Kidneys Role in Fluid Retention Prevention
It's your kidneys job to help maintain the right concentration of electrolytes by filtering your blood. It is crucial to look after your kidneys as they are vital in your overall wellbeing but also to help prevent fluid retention.
Drinking adequate clean water each day (8 glasses unless you're more physically active or sweating) can help to look after your kidneys but there are a few other things worth mentioning...
Did you know that the medicinal mushroom - Cordyceps is a well-known kidney (and liver) tonic? Yup! It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to help support kidney, liver and respiratory health (amongst many other things!)
Can Kidneys Help Kidneys?
Say what? Kidney helping kidneys, what does that even mean?
It's kind of like this...
As Hippocrates once said "By similar things a disease is produced and through the application of like is cured" (460-377 BC) 'Father of Medicine'.
We must be very clear that we are not claiming any cures here, just some food for thought. We are saying that by eating kidneys (stay with me, because it might not be what you think) you can actually help to nourish your own kidneys.
The right kind of nourishment leads to better functioning and overall health, healing and wellbeing.
Now look, I realise most people (including myself) won't be rushing out to their nearest butcher to ask for a kilo of kidneys for tonight's dinner but you might be interested to know that you can get kidneys (bovine-sourced) in a supplement form, it is mixed with 5 other essential glandulars and desiccated into a capsule for easy consumption!
Learn more or pick up a bottle of Perfect Grass-fed NZ Multi-organs right here.
Please Note: that if you have kidney disease you would probably be best to avoid an organ supplement as it contains phosphorus and potassium. Best to speak with your health physician always if you have a health condition and are unsure what you should be taking.
What's the Deal with Magnesium?
Magnesium has many important roles in the body - just like most nutrients and while we are on the subject of kidneys, it's worth mentioning the role they play in kidney health...
If a person is consistently (chronically) low in magnesium, the concentration of the urine is drastically reduced which may lead to irreversible damage to the kidneys. Whilst we can get magnesium from the foods we eat, often we are still low or even depleted as stress is one of the biggest contributors to magnesium loss.
High-quality magnesium supplements also work wonders to boost our magnesium levels and potentially reduce fluid retention. Pick up a bottle of our Perfect Magnesium and watch this easy-to-absorb nutrient work its magic.
To Sum Things Up
Treating mild fluid retention can be as simple as incorporating a few simple things listed here in this blog. Please use this information as a guide and like we always say, speak to your trusted health practitioner for advice.
Fluid Retention Tips:
- Reduce salt intake
- Look after your kidneys!!
- Don't smoke
- Take vitamin B6 (a multi-organs supplement is a great source)
- Take vitamin B5 (a multi-organs supplement is a great source)
- Drink plenty of pure water - hydration is the key!
- Drink teas made from dandelion, corn silk and horse tail
- Increase your calcium, magnesium and manganese (Baobab is an excellent source)
- Cut back on dehydrating beverages such as coffee, black tea/tea with caffeine, soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol, flavoured drinks
- Put your legs up! Elevating your legs higher than your head can help with fluid retention, try putting a few pillow under your legs while laying down or if you are able to, get your legs up a wall (so long as you are not menstruating)
- Don't stand still for too long, move around if possible
- Move your body on the regular! Walking is a good option
- Wear support stockings
- Take a high-quality magnesium supplement
Disclaimer: These are only potential benefits. This article is purely intended for informational purposes and not as advice. One must seek proper professional advice from their trusted health practitioner.